I'm very inflexible. Can I still do yoga?
You didn't say where you are inflexible. Remember, yoga works on the body, mind and spirit, which are all mirrors of each other. So I'll assume you're talking about your body, and I'll touch on the other two at the end.
One of my first teachers told me the only difference between an inflexible person and more flexible person is the inflexible person doesn't have to go as far to feel their edge. This is the same place every student works around to feel sensation and to have a place to rest your focus and breath.
If you're just starting in yoga, to be safe you want to be sure it's your "first edge" (important to remember if you're a Type A overachiever). Therefore, find a qualified yoga teacher who's able to teach you variations to postures that will give you the same benefit of deeper stretches. You might need to find a class where the teacher walks around and gives individual help. Props make a world of difference for you to do yoga safely and enjoyably.
Remember, you're working at your edge of comfort, not discomfort. And if you consider the mind and spirit, then it could be your edge of patience or your edge of stress or your edge of compassion and self esteem. Practicing yoga postures can create flexibility in all these areas at the same time. With regular practice and guidance from a certified teacher, you'll discover increased flexibility in all areas of your life.
DIANE UTASKI ANSWERS YOGA QUESTIONS in her columns; send questions to [email protected]. Find more info at www.cincyoga.com.